Saturday, 28 February 2015
Leaving the EU
On the 18th February I attended, at David Campbell Bannerman MEP’s invitation, a conference that he had organised at Europe House, the former Conservative Party Headquarters at 32 Smith Square in London. The conference was entitled ‘Alternatives to EU Membership: What are the UK’s options?’
The conference was extremely well planned, supported and very interesting with a series of interesting speakers. We had the history of the relationship between the UK and the UK and, indeed of Europe, generally extending back over the last 2,000 years from Adrian Hilton, AKA the blogger, Archbishop Cranmer. His speech can be found here >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMc4AElHRAw&list=PLhBwLqL-Q9j9LAg45qcCuWJCZVfcjRvyM&index=2 and is well worth listening to.
The meeting was chaired by Tim Montgomerie currently of the Times and formally of Conservative Home, who was kind enough to welcome me personally and assured me that he supported an English Parliament and wished the campaign every success.
We heard from Ruth Lee, from Martin Howe QC and interestingly from Heming Olaussen, leading No to EU campaigner, and also Thomas Aeschi, member of the Swiss Parliament for the Swiss Peoples Party, as to what the situation is in terms of resistance to EU membership in both those countries. Also from David Campbell Bannerman himself and also from Sir Bill Cash MP.
There were also impressive contributions from Matthew Elliott, John Mills, leading Labour Eurosceptic, and Dr John Warmould, an expert in the motor manufacturing sector, recorded messages from Owen Patterson MP and Niall Gardner, of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, an entertaining speech from UKIP’s Earl of Dartmouth MEP and also a great speech from Christopher Chope MP. All of these speeches can be found by following the YouTube links.
The upshot of the meeting was also useful for the Eurosceptic Cause, as it became clear there is really a very simple option which does not depend on anyone else agreeing to anything. We could simply leave the EU and there would be an automatic access to the fundamental agreements governing world trade under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation.
Other options would simply give rise to the sort of confusion which did not help the ‘Yes’ side in the Scottish Independence Referendum, as we would be left arguing that we need the agreement of particular people and trying to convince people that the negotiations would proceed favourably.
Bill Cash pointed out that because the UK does not have a written Constitution and the fundamental rule of parliamentary sovereignty (that one parliament cannot bind the next), means that there is nothing constitutionally to stop us simply repealing the European Communities Act, which means that the UK is automatically out of the EU.
Therefore with that simple constitutional step the UK would be back amongst the trade nations governed by the World Trade Organisation. No doubt also, given the balance of payments, we would also be able to get favourable terms with the EU in due course in any case. The only part of the economy which needs special consideration is the motor industry which may need special support negotiated with the industry leaders.
This clarification is of course great news from the point of view of the campaign to leave the EU, since it makes all the arguments much simpler and much easier for everyone to understand.
What do you think?